Monday, January 14, 2008

Killer Kosmetics

These days, women are so careful about what they put on their faces - is the make-up or skin creme they use tested on animals; is it dermatologically safe; does it contain "natural" ingredients.

Well, spare a thought, Ladies, for your ancient and medieval forebears who coated their faces with many a poison - all in the name of beauty.

According to this article by "MSNBC" women in ancient Egypt used eye make-up made up of "malachite (a green ore of copper), galena (lead sulfide), and, most famously, kohl, a paste made of soot, fatty matter and metal (usually lead, antimony, manganese or copper)."

Women in ancient Greece and Rome used a white lead to give the skin a more paler tone; red lead to give their lips a more redder appearance; and lead also to dye their hair; white lead and mercury for the "face peel"; and lead sulfate to aid in the removal of freckles. According to this article, the use of lead to whiten the skin increased during the 15th - 18th centuries - and "death by cosmetics" was common.

However, even well into the 19th and 19th Centuries, poisonous substances like arsenic, radium, and even rat poison were still to be found among the ingredients of both cosmetics and facial cremes that women unknowingly smothered their skin with.

Thank goodness today, we women are more concious of just what we feed our skin - so spare a thought for the women of yester-year who died for the sake of beauty.

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